News Corp. Said to Be Closer to Buying Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is nearer to acquiring his daughter’s television production company, Shine Group Ltd., two people familiar with the matter said.

A deal for News Corp. to purchase Elisabeth Murdoch’s U.K.- based Shine, which produces hit shows such as “MasterChef” and “Merlin,” may come as early as next week, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the talks are private.

A purchase of Shine by News Corp. would bring Elisabeth back into the fold of her father’s media empire, where she worked until 2000 at British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc. Shine said last month it hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. to advise on strategic options and growth opportunities, citing “the current consolidation within the international production sector.”

Last month, two people familiar with the talks said Shine may be worth 800 million pounds ($1.28 billion). News Corp., Shine and JPMorgan today declined to comment on the matter.

Shine, which Elisabeth founded in 2001, supplies television content to U.K. TV companies including BSkyB, the British Broadcasting Corp. and ITV Plc. A deal for Shine would follow Time Warner Inc.’s purchase of another U.K. production company, Shed Media, for 100 million pounds last August. Shed Media is behind shows such as “Supernanny” and “Footballers’ Wives.”

‘Everything’s Fine’

Elisabeth, 42, declined a seat on the board of her father’s company in 2009 because it would conflict with her ownership of Shine. Joining the board of News Corp., which owns 39.1 percent of BSkyB, would have meant Elisabeth would no longer qualify as an independent producer.

When asked about the possibility of having his sister back inside News Corp. last week, James Murdoch, the head of News Corp.’s European and Asian operations, responded: “It’s fine. Everything is fine.”

The Guardian newspaper earlier reported that the two sides were closer to a deal.

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